As anyone who reads my blog probably knows by now- I love taking photos. I have a huge passion for snapping away as much as I possibly can. I love how in an instant, a moment that might have been forgotten over time, is frozen into a memory you can treasure forever. How it captures all the moments we can never return too. You can look at a photograph and instantly get transported back in time- what you were wearing, what the weather was like, and of course the emotions. You can see from the expressions on peoples faces how they were feeling, the raw, genuine emotion in a photograph can't ever be forgotten.
That's why I love photography. I love the fact that I am documenting my daughter's childhood. I want her to look back and see how loved she was and how she made us feel.
I have hundreds of photos of my childhood- the smiling school photos, the holiday snapshots, the good times and the not so good. Moments captured in an instant, so I can look back and remember.
This got me thinking. What photos can I look back on and say 'those moments have defined my life.' Not my childhood as such, as it would take me forever, but my adult life?
First up is this one. This was my first holiday away from my parents. We were eighteen,had just finished our A-Levels, and had our freedom properly for the first time. We went to Magaluf, and compared to the scary things I see on television nowadays, we were 'reasonably' tame. I definitely see it as a defining point in my adult life- the first time I was completely left to my own devices, and going from a school girl living with my Mum and little sister, to an adult at university. It was a time in my life when my life changed dramatically, where my friendships changed and where I grew as a person. Out of those eight girls, I still see many of them at weddings, reunions and of course on facebook, but I only regularly see one of them, who was a bridesmaid at my wedding. It's funny cause at the time I couldn't have imagined a life without them.
This absolutely hideous photo was taken during my first week at university. Those three girls would end up becoming my housemates for the whole three years I was there, and I still am close to them to this day, the girl at the back, Claire, was my bridesmaid and I am due to be hers next year.
This photo brings back a huge range of emotions for me. University was an incredible experience and made me who I am today. I moved away from home, got a degree, made life long friends, had some amazing nights, did things I shouldn't, fell in love, got my heart broken and learnt a huge lot about myself.
In my first week of university I met my first long term boyfriend who I was with for two and a half years, and it was the first time I could definitely say I was in love. I shared many experiences with him and I have him to thank for making me partly who I am today. We had our up's and downs as our relationship was intense for our age, but eventually it just fizzled out. There were no hard feelings and he text me to congratulate me on my marriage and on the birth of our daughter. Every relationship you have I think shapes who you are, and in a way I have to thank him for that.
For that reason this photo of my first week of Uni really brings back a huge range of emotions for me.
If you excuse my dodgy blond do, this photo always brings back happy thoughts for me. It's just one night of many in my final year at university but the lovely lady in the photo is one of my best friends Claire. She was the very first person I met at university, and it turns out we were sharing a room together, something which I wasn't happy about to start with. However we soon became friends, but it wasn't until our final year when our other two close girl friends moved abroad that we became really close.
We had an amazing final year, my favourite of them all, and almost every funny memory I have involved having Claire in them. I split from my first love half way through the year and we spent the rest of the time having some amazing experiences. She was bridesmaid at my wedding, and I love her to pieces. She has definitely been a defining person in my life and I hope she always will.
That final year saw me deciding what direction I wanted to go in life. Halfway through the year I was sat with Claire in a bar having lunch and I decided to apply for a job. That day I met my future husband, although we would be friends for the first two years. I made the decision to stay in Leeds when a lot of my friends moved away, and I ended up sharing a flat with my 'friend' Mr E. I will be thankful for that decision, and that year, for the rest of my life.
This photo was taken on mine and Mr E's first holiday together when we went to Cuba. I will never forget that holiday and it was there that I realised that our relationship was serious. Having known Mr E as a friend for a couple of years before we actually got together, we became serious quite quickly, but it was in Cuba that our relationship was defined. We had the best time, and I fell in love with my future husband even more during that holiday. I love looking at this photo as I can see from my face how happy I am, yet I am unaware of all the excitement to come.
I love this photo. I think it was one of the happiest times of my life. Having been with my wonderful Mr E for nearly three years, he finally proposed one morning with a beautiful platinum engagement ring and a romantic and well thought out plan. He surprised me with a champagne breakfast with my family and then flew us to Ediburgh for a weekend of surprises. It was such an exciting time, knowing what lay ahead of us, and knowing that I was going to be marrying the love of my life.
Our wedding day. Obviously one of the most important days of my life, but when I look back through the thousands of photos that our photographers took, it is this one that I think sums up our wedding day the most. It was taken during the best man's speech and I love everything about it- it was a happy day and I think that happiness shows on our faces. Throughout the whole day I was so thankful to have such wonderful family and friends, and I laughed and cried all day long.
After our wedding we went on honeymoon to Mexico and Miami. The whole trip cost us an absolute fortune and I used to feel a bit queasy about the thousands we spent on it. We stayed in the most beautiful hotel and while we were there we spoke properly about trying for a baby, and decided that I would come off my pill when we came home.
I love this photo for it was taken on Christmas Eve 2009. Exactly 365 days later, that baby we talked about on our honeymoon was born. For so many reasons this photo will always bring back emotions for me- the fact it was our last proper holiday together, the fact we spoke about trying for a family and the fact that a year to the day our beloved daughter arrived.
This goes without saying as one of the most defining photos of my adult life. About two seconds before the photo was taken, I had just been handed our daughter for the first time. I had held my breath nervously and gripped Mr E's hand tightly while they cut me open and I willed her to cry. And she did. And just like that my whole life changed forever. As any mother well knows, that feeling and that emotion of that first cuddle is something that will stay with me forever. Just seeing it gives me goosebumps.
Since the day Mads arrived I have taken millions of photos of her. This one however sums up my first year as a Mummy. It was taken during a boiling hot Easter weekend we had and we went for a picnic in a secluded area by a lake. There was no one there but us and we stayed there hours, just cuddling and playing with Mads. It really sticks in my mind as by this point she was about 4 months old and I felt like we were really getting to grips with parenting- she was sleeping better, was much more interactive, and I really felt like we were a family. I remember feeling so happy that day.
Finally this photo is one of my favourites. I think it sums up totally how I am feeling at this point in my life. For two years now our lives have been totally focused on Mads, and on being a three. We work well as a three and I have loved every single minute of our journey into parenthood.
However in a few weeks there will be a new addition to our team making us a four. That's a scary thought but is also very exciting. However I love this photo because it is of us three, with a little baby in my tummy too. It completely defines who I am as a person right now.
And thats it. From the millions of photos I have I definitely look back on these and remember every single bit of emotion, love, happiness and feeling I had when they were being taken. I can look back on them and see how each part of my adult journey has shaped the person I am today.
That's the beauty of a photograph. And thats why I love photography.